A good canister vacuum is built around the concept of convenience. It should allow you to move the wand in any position without trouble, but it also needs to have the power to remove all kinds of debris such as dust and hair on various surfaces. As such, there are lots of points to consider when looking for the best canister vacuum in the market.
However, picking one online without personally getting your hands on them is a game of gamble. With this, our SolidSmack Household Appliance and Tool Research Team picked 5 of the leading canister vacuums in the market and put them to test. By using them on all sorts of surfaces and inspecting their ability to suck in different debris, our team noted their best highlights and put them in this review for your benefit. Together with those things, we also considered in our scoring and ranking system the features and overall value of each one before ranking them.
Securing the top spot is the Kenmore Elite 81714 which offers a dual-motor system: one for the Ultra Plush nozzle and one for vacuum canister base. This helps it to supply continuous and consistent airflow and suction power. It also boasts a boatload of additional features such as dust bag indicator light, wand LED light, and HEPA filter.
The Miele Classic C1 got almost the same score as the Elite 81714. Besides the quality build and design of this German model, it also possesses one of the best motors out there. Combining robust performance and silent suction, it is one of our noteworthy recommendations that will put old canister vacuums in shadows.
Here are the other canister vacuums worth trying this 2021:
1. Kenmore Elite 81714
dusting brush, crevice tool, elite floor brush, Ultra Plush nozzle, and Pet Powermate
For serious vacuuming tasks, Kenmore Elite 81714 is one of the top choices to have. It is packed with lots of power from its canister base to the attachments it comes with. Elite 81714 sports a 2-motor system, giving it more suction power and allowing it to do its job with ease. Besides the motor in the base, its Ultra Plush nozzle attachment also sports a motor that simultaneously works with the other one for smoother and stronger airflow. The beauty about it is that it breaks the suction seal between the nozzle and the carpet during the process. With this, the motor somehow aids you in pushing the swiveling head which means less muscle strain for you. Its suction power is unrivaled. When we tried it for low-pile carpets and area rugs, it picked up everything from cereal and human and pet hair. The best part about that was that we didn’t see any strand of hair tangled around the beater brush in all the 3 trials we conducted.
Another attachment that makes the package an absolute deal is the motorized Pet Powermate. Besides the suction it can deliver effectively, it employs a rotational movement to better lift hair, dander, and dirt on surfaces. There are other 3 attachments included such as the dusting brush, crevice tool, and elite floor brush. Each of the small attachments can be kept inside the canister base which is truly convenient as you have access to them anytime.
Besides its brilliant suction system and attachments, the body is also designed to assure ease of use. Besides the 10-foot adjustable wand that offers a good reach, the Elite 81714 has a 26-foot retractable power cord which removes the need for an extension cord. Also, it is perfect for those who hate specs of dust escaping the canister. Thanks to its disposable dust bags, disposing of the debris collected by the unit doesn't need to be stressful.
2. Miele Classic C1
dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool
In terms of the finest quality, there are no other suggestions we could provide but the Miele Classic C1. The German-made bagged canister vacuum excels both in its build and performance.
Besides the sleek body and attachments that snap smoothly into the tube, Classic C1 is the quietest unit we have ever tried. Even at the maximum suction level, the gracefulness of its motor can’t be compared to others which makes it one of the top favorites of a lot of people out there. Further, it also boasts the “Miele AirClean System.” Using a genuine 4.76-quart Miele FilterBag, motor protection filter, and AirClean exhaust filter, the brand claims that Classic C1 can both vacuum your floor and filter the air around the area.
Nonetheless, its true power can be experienced with its 6-level suction power. The rotary dial controlling it is located in the body of the canister itself. It was suggested to be used for hard surfaces, but it worked just as well as the other units we tested when we tried it for low-pile carpets and area rugs. The 1,200 W vortex motor is incredibly powerful and can suck small to medium debris without problems.
It also comes with three extra attachments: dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool. Attaching them to the wand was truly satisfying for us, with each one giving that smooth snapping sound each time. We also love that they can be clipped at the end of the hose.
On the other hand, it can cover anything within a 29.5-foot radius which is enough for a small canister vacuum model like this. The auto-retracting cord easily unwinds and the vacuum has rubberized wheels which let you pull it without much effort.
3. Eureka WhirlWind NEN110A
built-in crevice tool and the brush
Eureka WhirlWind NEN110A is another budget canister vacuum just like the Bissell Zing. It costs a bit higher than the Zing, but you get a considerable upgrade in the materials. Compared to others, WhirlWind’s body boasts a lot of metal parts that will tell you right away how good its build is. Nonetheless, it is just as lightweight as other canister vacuums and only weighs less than 8 pounds.
WhirlWind also has some of the best designs among all the other choices on the list. One is its telescoping pole that can be adjusted to a great length with just a push of a button. This gives you a good reach under beds and big furniture which can’t be handled by normal handheld vacuums. The head also swivels, making the control of the unit much enjoyable. We also love that it has an integrated crevice tool and brush in the handle itself. With this, missing the parts is not possible. Just separate the two metal parts and you can now have the option to choose between a crevice tool or the brush attachment. The latter can be accessed easily just by pushing it down.
The WhirlWind also sports 3 options for speed. It can be changed with a slide switch in the handle. You can choose from Carpet, Upholstery, and Hard Floor modes easily and the suction power of this unit is no joke. When we tried it, it almost sucked a thin low-pile carpet. Nonetheless, its full power can be seen in its performance on hard floors. Besides effectively picking up strands of pet hair in just a single pass, it also picked up cereals and sand on floors with pure vigor.
Overall, using the WhirlWind was enjoyable for us. It has followed us without the need to tug the tube, thanks to the big wheels of the canister. It also has a 16-foot power cord that automatically rewinds, so putting it back into the storage room is not a problem. Lastly, it has a 2.5 L dust container that also opens with just a push of a button. Emptying it and washing the filters are just as easy as other units.
4. Hoover Commercial CH30000
crevice tool, dusting brush, furniture nozzle, rug/floor nozzle, and wall/floor brush
CH30000 might not be the most aesthetically stunning choice on our list, but it is one powerful canister vacuum trusted by lots of cleaners and companies out there. It is physically different from others. No wheels. No circular body. Instead, CH30000 has a box-shaped canister and a shoulder strap. It is meant to be carried as you move and while it might look unconventional compared to how you navigate other models, it means excellent convenience. It is lightweight at 8 pounds and there is a 33-foot power cord, allowing you to move and bring it anywhere without worries.
It also comes with a whole set of attachments for all kinds of tasks. This includes two chrome wands, crevice tool, dusting brush, furniture nozzle, rug/floor nozzle, and wall/floor brush. We found all tools very effective in delivering their purposes but the real detail to thank about this is the powerful motor of the vacuum. With the right attachments and cloth dust bag, it can create sufficient suction power to suck all kinds of debris on hard floors and area rugs. In our test, its suction and airflow were so strong that without pushing the end of the crevice tool to the area we wanted to clean, it could already suck in the dust, sand, and strands of hair. With this, we would suggest it for those who are obsessed with cleaning tight spots and corners. As a bonus, it can also double as a blower!
5. Bissell Zing 2156A
crevice tool, dusting brush, and multi-surface floor tool
Bissell Zing 2156A is probably the most practical choice among users who are looking for a convenient canister vacuum they can use anytime. It has a 9 amp power rating which is basically the minimum requirement for such an appliance. It isn’t much but its suction power is one of the best.
It has a very lightweight body that lets you drag it everywhere as you please. The same goes for the tube itself connecting to the nozzle. It also has a decent length and together with the flat nature of the nozzle and big wheels of the unit, maneuvering under furniture is easy. It also has a 15-foot long cord that rewinds. It is not that long but for a small canister vacuum, the length is reasonable.
What really impressed us when we tested Zing was how powerful and efficient its suction power is. We weren’t expecting much as it is basically a budget vacuum, but it really outperformed other pricier competitions. Besides picking up medium size debris with ease, it sucked up pet hair with ease and directed everything into the 2-liter canister. We found it incredibly effective for hard floors and surfaces. And while the manual clearly stated that it should only be used for low-pile carpets, it still managed to work its magic in the medium-pile ones we tried! The included accessories in the package made our work even easier (crevice tool, dusting brush, and multi-surface floor tool). Even better, emptying the canister is a pure breeze. Besides being bagless and using washable filters, the bottom of the container flicks open which allows you to throw everything into the trash can in seconds.
Best Canister Vacuums - Buyer's Guide
Disposing of the dust bags of bagged canister vacuums is far easier than repeatedly washing the canister of bagless units. They also prevent the dust from escaping and getting back onto the ground. However, disposable dust bags mean additional costs. If this is a concern for you, bagless models are the ones to have. After all, they can also be very convenient as you can discard their content anytime you want.
As much as possible, make sure that the canister vacuum has all the attachments you need. If you have the means to spend a little extra, try having motorized attachments like what Kenmore Elite 81714 offers.
It is ideal if the canister vacuum has an option for variable speeds. This will allow you to adjust its power to prevent damages to delicate surfaces. When considering the controls, also study how you access them. Is it located in the wand? Do you have to stoop down to reach the control on the vacuum? What is more convenient for you?
It is normal for small canister vacuum models to have short cords and wands. However, you might want to consider the one offering considerable lengths in the said parts. This will let you move easier without the need for extension cords or plugging the unit again and again from one outlet to another.
Best Canister Vacuums - FAQs
It depends on the model of the canister vacuum you have. Some bagged units have indicators that will tell you when it is time to replace the bags. On the other hand, if you are using a bagless unit, try to empty it every time you use it. This will prevent blockage and future problems in the vacuum.
A regular canister vacuum can last up to 8 years. However, with the right quality and care, there are those that can exceed the said number.
It is not really worth repairing some vacuum canisters, especially if they are already 5 to 7 years old and getting closer to their last years. Some repairs can cost half the price of the canister vacuum, so it is better to purchase a new one.